Culture Crash 19-15: The Increasing Cost of Cutting the Cord

 

Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine what’s new and old in entertainment.

With Apple’s recent announcement that the company will launch a new streaming service called Apple TV+ this fall, we all have another subscription to consider paying for. Of course, this will be in addition to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, the leading streaming providers already up and running. And joining the fray soon will be Disney’s streaming option, Disney+, which is scheduled to include the company’s library of animated classics. If that wasn’t enough, Criterion recently launched a streaming channel of its own which aims to fill the hole left in the marketplace to watch Indie and foreign films. Sounds like a lot, right?

Well, we haven’t even mentioned CBS All Access which will exclusively air the new Twilight Zone, and none of this includes cable. For that, you’d have to subscribe to a traditional cable provider or an internet provider like Sling, PlayStation Vue, or Hulu + Live TV. Premium channels, like HBO, Showtime, and Starz cost even more.

Of course, this is just streaming movies and TV at home. If you want to see a new movie, you’ll still have to go buy a ticket at your local theater. And if you want to listen to music, well, there are other monthly fees for Spotify and Apple Music.

Sounds expensive, doesn’t it? A few years ago, cutting the cord and eliminating your cable package in favor of Netflix or Hulu was supposed to be a cost-saving move. Now, streaming is getting to be just as expensive as that cable package was in the first place. And if you rely on streaming, then you already know you’re dependent on the ever-evolving libraries these services provide and a reliable internet connection, which, you know, costs even more money.

In our digital world, there are more entertainment options than ever before. But the days where you could just subscribe to everything may be drawing to a close. Now, many of us will be forced to decide if we’re Netflix people or Apple TV+ people. And you’ll have to get used to ignoring all the chatter about the great new show on whichever option you simply can’t afford anymore.

I’m Evan Rook. 

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19-12 Segment 2: Raising Financially-Minded Children

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All parents want their kids to succeed and live good lives, and part of accomplishing that is raising them to understand the value of a dollar. We talk to Beth Kobliner, a financial expert and author of the book Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even if you’re not) about tips and tricks to help our kids, from toddlers to post-grads, handle money responsibly.

Guest:

  • Beth Kobliner, financial expert and author, Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even if you’re not)

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19-03 Segment 1: China’s Family Policies & Their Impact on America

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In America, we may have an idea of how China’s one-child and two-child policies work, but the truth is more complicated than many of us imagine. We talk to journalist and author Vanessa Hua about how these policies have rippled all the way into America.

Guests:

  • Vanessa Hua, journalist and author, A Rivers of Stars

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18-49 Segment 1: The Need for Investigative Journalism

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Investigative journalism is a necessity in a democracy. Independent journalists putting in long hours to serve as watchdogs for our government can have long-lasting ramifications, just look at the impact Woodward and Bernstein made with their Watergate investigations. We talk to one expert about the current state of investigative journalism in America and what can be done to ensure the watchdogs stay in business.

Guest:

  • James Hamilton, Hearst professor of communications at Stanford University and author, Democracy’s Detectives: The economics of investigative journalism

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18-38 Segment 1: The Uncertain Future of Cash

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As technology evolves, more and more of us are relying on credit cards, debit cards and even apps like Venmo or Zelle to make payments. Gone are the days of physically cashing your check, now almost all of us use all direct-deposit. So what is the future of cash? We talk to one expert who lays out some of the nefarious uses of bills and coins.

Guests:

  • Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics at Harvard University and author, The Curse of Cash

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18-38 Segment 2: Losing It All: The collapse of Stroh Brewing Company

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Frances Stroh grew up in the family that owned America’s third biggest brewer, Stroh Brewing Company. As she aged into adulthood, she watched as both the brewery and her family life fell apart. She talks about the struggles the company faced, how her family dealt with it, and when a legacy can become a burden.

Guest:

  • Frances Stroh, author, Beer Money: A memoir of privilege and loss

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17-34 Segment 1: The Demise of Cash

 

Most of us rely on our debit cards, finding it easier to not use cash for transactions, however, the United States Treasury still printed up to 80 billion dollars of paper money last year. Where is all this money going? What is it being used for?

In his book The Curse of Cash, Harvard economics professor Kenneth Rogoff describes that printed cash often causes citizens to be poorer and less safe. He claims that printed cash is used for evading tax and committing crimes like buying and selling drugs. He believes that cash needs to provide value to citizens rather than authorizing crime. He believes that if society used less cash, then perhaps crime could be reduced.

One solution Rogoff proposes is “financial inclusion”, a system where people on welfare receive debit cards. In countries like India, the fast majority of the population receive a debit account through welfare. This saves the government money because they no longer have to print checks, and those receiving welfare do not have to transfer checks into their account. With the debit system, the money from welfare goes directly into a debit account which the recipients then can spend. This would make transactions easier for people and could lead to less reliance on cash.

Rogoff predicts the termination of cash bills in the next 10-20 years.

Guests:

  • Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics at Harvard University and author of The Curse of Cash

Links for more information:

 

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